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Family History Center connects student’s families

Located in the second floor of the David O. McKay Library, the Family History Center helps students obtain family names and gives students the chance to learn about genealogy.

Elder Miller, a service missionary at the Family History Center, said there is a family history social in the Manwaring Center every Thursday from 7-8 p.m.

“I want to challenge each of you to set a personal goal to help prepare as many names for the temple as baptisms you perform in the temple,” Elder Neil L. Andersen, member of The Quorum of the Twelve postles said. “Again, my challenge for you is to prepare as many names for the temple as you perform baptisms in the temple.”

Elder Douglas Poole and Sister Aldene Poole are director of the BYU-I Family History Center. Brother and Sister Poole are church service missionaries and are serving under the direction of the Rexburg Married Second Stake.

Elder and Sister Poole were called in August of 2008 and have served as directors for the past eight years.

Brother Poole said the university made the desison about 15 years ago to make the Family History Center an actual center on campus that would be staffed by church service missionaries.

“The Family History Center supports students as they discover the promised blessing that awaits all who make temple and family history work a part of their lives,” Brother Poole said. “The center is used to help students fulfill the challenges given them by the Apostles to find your ancestors, take their ancestors to the temple and teach others how to do it.”

Brother Poole said students who come to the Family History Center learn how to start their own family history, how to verify the vital information for their ancestors and how to find those ancestors who do not have temple ordinances recorded.

“Some ancestors have fancy headstones and some have homemade headstones,” according to the Family History Center Web Page. “But all your ancestors were placed in the grave with love and sorrow. We now have the means of turning that sorrow to joy as we do their temple ordinances and they are given the opportunity to progress.”

Brother Poole said students do this by learning how to use FamilySearch and FamilySearch Family Tree to find and verify their family lines and print out ordinance cards for those needing temple ordinances.

“Students will have a missionary that will sit next to them and help them one-on-one, students will learn how and where to search for historical records of their ancestors,” Brother Poole said. “Students may spend just a few minutes at each visit or can spend as much time as they desire at the center.”

Brother Poole said the Family History Center has 21 missionaries and 11 volunteers that are very friendly, knowledgeable and ready to assist students in their research, whether they are just beginning or are advanced researchers.

Brother Poole said the Family History Center is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. There are missionaries and volunteers at the Family History Center that are willing to help and answer any questions.

“Students can benefit from the Family History Center by learning the importance of family history work and not find it boring but enjoyable,” Brother Poole said. “Students can get help starting from where they are whether a beginner or advanced researcher.”

Brother Poole said the Family History Center is meant to help students get guidance and help from experienced researchers and not struggle alone.

“By students coming to the center, they get a feeling of who they really are and have a more intimate relationship with their ancestors as they search for records, photos, life stories and documents to verify their ancestors’ lives,” Brother Poole said.

Riley Neilson, a freshman studying biochemistry, said he enjoys indexing and finds family history work fascinating.

“I once listened to a talk from Elder Bednar and it moved me,” Neilson said. “Elder Bednar’s address was about family history work and its importance. I remember his saying that finding your own family names and taking those names to the temple is the most affective defense against the adversary.”

Neilson said the reason he wants to do more family history work is so he can make the temple more meaningful.

“I have not been to the Family History Center here on campus yet, but I have walked by many times and see students there working on their own names and I am always so impressed,” Neilson said.

Neilson said knowing more about the basics of doing your own family history work would make indexing and finding family names much easier.

“When I first started participating in family history work, it was challenging.” Neilson said. “I enjoyed doing the work but I was not understanding how to do it myself. Having the Family History Center right on campus makes it easier for me to go ask questions.

Neilson said he wants to go soon to sit with a missionary and find family names.

Students interested in family history work can visit byui.edu/family-history for information about family history work, tips for searching family names and activities hosted by the Family History Center.

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